Saturday, February 13, 2010

Meditation and Free Association

As a Christian I comprehend that there is something bigger out there all the time, and yet my beliefs also include an environmental side, and the idea that there is an energy in each of us that- when tapped into- can bring us relaxation, peace and understanding of who we are, and who we are in relation to the human race.

Tonight I made my first attempt (with any understanding of what I'm doing) at meditating. I started online to find a video on youtube. I learned that mantras are thoughts of the minds, and the goal of meditating is to let go of thoughts- so no mantras. The focus should be on the breath, but not in a concentrated way.... just accept and focus on the breathing in that it exists within us. When thoughts begin to take hold, go back to the breath. Eventually there is to be a point reached where the mind is totally relaxed. I didn't quite get there, but I noticed a HUGE difference in how I felt afterwards. Much more relaxed and in tune with the world and within my body. Yoga does this for me sometimes as well.

Another way to tap into a part of your brain- your subconscious- is through a 'free writing' exercise. The Surrealists used to do this, and I do this with my students and most recently did it because my grad teacher had us do it. Bascially- for 10-20 minutes you write out whatever pops into your head. It may be observations, thoughts, sounds you hear, a repetative letter or word... the only thing is that you don't stop, you don't go back and read it until the end, and you don't worry about punctuations or capitalizations. Write quickly and keep going.

Here is one of my free writings as an example. It will be different from yours, or someone elses. This is MY subconscious. Enjoy!

"In the problematic schematic recession of click writing formidable comprehension i can't spell smell of the trusting lightworthiness within the orange world of wonder expresses thoughtfully the unexplained gray shadow of the night sky with pulses and breaks as glitches to neurons and electricity the pulsing escapades of relieved tension breaks our spirits and crushes our diminishing capabilities for love and acceptance or perhaps forgiveness of pain within the deeper parts of our subconscious the tactile infantile memory forgets as if the world doesn't exist as a sphere but floats gloriously random as though fields bloom for them. silence lays sleeping impossible in line to show its face and shock the world into awareness and white light blasting from a power struggle source. thankfully there isn't a chance in hell, awareness brings truth and only privy people should accept its fate within their lives, the artists, writers, poets, always the ones who are misunderstood."

So try them out. Let me know how it goes! If you end up with a cool free writing, feel free to post it in the comments.

Peace and Love,

Day 14 of winter break #2

So the snow has been super beneficial in my doing things like relaxing and making art. After hours (and hours and hours and hours and hours) of working on my latest piece, I've finally finished! I'm calling it "Through Snowy Branches". It was done from a photo that my grandmother took of her backyard in the winter time. When she passed away a few months ago, some of her (millions of) photos of nature came to us. My dad let me have a couple of them. I sold the one I painted ("Winter Silhouette") already, and now the other is for sale on my etsy site. I like to think of my grandmother when I do my art. She was a practicing (and professional) artist, and art was something that the two of us bonded over. I like to think that she'll help me in making my art sell over the course of my life. I know she's watching over me, and I know that she's happy I'm working on my art.

In other news, Stephe has been drawing up a storm and is going to try to start his own etsy site. He does realistic and surrealistic kinds of environments that have a repetative elephant in it somewhere. I've been teaching him about shading and the importance of creating a background in some of his pieces. He's been doing a fantastic job and is a quick study. I'll get some of his art up here soon.

To everyone, happy (pre) valentines day! The holiday might be silly, but sharing love certainly isn't, and according to the Beatles.... it's all you need. =)

From one of my favorite movies...Across the Universe.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New Pieces

In my excess of time- due to the snow weeks we've had off, I've had a chance to work on some of my art. I've posted a few more pieces on etsy in the past few days. They're below. Thanks for taking the time to look!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Life in Love with Stephen

For those of you who don't know much of my relationship with Stephe might not realize that my boyfriend is a quadriplegic- which means that he has limited use of all "four" of his limbs. I put "four" because that's the definition... but he is missing his right leg from the mid-thigh down.

HOW HE BECAME PARALYZED- About 6 years ago he was riding his motorcycle with his friends at nighttime and his friend was having some problems with his bike and waved Stephe ahead. Stephe looked back to make sure his friend was okay, and in doing so missed that the road curved off to the left. He went straight into the guardrail at about 60 mph, breaking both his motorcycle and his body into pieces. His right leg was amputated within a couple days since it took most of the impact, and he spent a long time in recovery. But Stephe is one of the most inspiring and motivated guys I know and he doesn't let things stop him, so a little over a year ago I met him 5 years after his crash.

HOW WE MET- Online. Stephe sent me a message, and I was intrigued. I honestly wasn't sure how the date would go, and I was SO nervous to go on a date with someone in a wheelchair. Part of me felt that it was the nice thing to do, but he was very handsome in the pictures. I THOUGHT we would just become friends. BOY WAS I WRONG! Stephe and I spent hours talking at the Starbucks, and then he took me around Occoquan and when I suggested dinner he was all for it. We even joked as we drove past some really pretty houses, "Oh when we get married and have a million kids we can live there!" "Yeah, I totally think our parents would be supportive of us getting married on the first date." We're not engaged... yet. ;)

STRUGGLES- We have trouble every so often with doing things with the ease that we'd like to.
Parking lots- Stephe has a van that he drives from his wheelchair (that locks in) with hand controls. He gets into it using a ramp. A few times people have parked across the white diagonal lines in the parking lots and have made it impossible for Stephe to get back into his van because he can't get the ramp out. I have had to back his van out while standing in the place where the driver seat would be, while using hand controls. Not exactly the safest thing.

Other Drivers- Stephe has rods in his neck and therefore can't turn his head very far. Usually if I'm in the car I help him with traffic, though he's capable of doing it himself... it's just easier for me to look. Sometimes people have been really rude and not let him over. Because he uses hand controls to accelerate and brake, he can't always use his turn signal, but even when he has them on some people are really rude. It is in these times that I have sometimes lost my cool and shown people my... 'finger version of the washington monument'.
Furniture- Because Stephe's power wheelchair is higher, we sometimes have trouble getting him under tables (especially at restaurants). At my apartment I have a table with adjustable legs that I got from IKEA, so he can roll right under with no problem. I've also had to put my couch on risers, which makes it looks like I have stadium seating in my living room, but I've gotten used to it.

KITCHEN STUFF- Stephe's hand's don't work the same way as everyone else's, so we have certain mugs that work for him better. One was from IKEA and the other I got at an Art Festival. He loves his coffee just like I do, so these were a necessary investment. =) Also, he needs lighter silverware because he can't grasp it the same way. He's fine with my stuff, but at restaurants sometimes it's tough.

SNOW- Today I went out to shovel out his vehicle (from the 30 inches of snow we received) and a nice family that lives upstairs saw me with my kid sized shovel and came out and helped me! It still took about an hour, but it would've taken me for FOREVER if they hadn't helped.

With Stephe, I do the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, the dishes and help him get ready for bed, and up in the morning. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work, but Stephe is always so understanding about everything, so usually I don't mind.

WHAT STEPHE DOES FOR ME He tries. If I need something from the grocery store and I'm busy, I'll ask Stephe to run out and get it and he does. He returns movies for me. Recently when my car acted up, Stephe drove me 45 minutes north to drop off my car at 10pm, and then 3 days later took off work early to take me back up to get it. He tries to bring over the dishes to the counter when he can. He gets he own toothbrush ready and brushes his teeth without my help because we got the toothpaste dispenser that he can just push down on.
BUT, more importantly, he supports me. He helps me with my art, and does art with me. He doesn't make fun of me being a pescetarian and went pescetarian himself after we started dating. He doesn't mind that I have 6 feral cats eating on my porch, or that I have two cats of my own. He doesn't complain when my apartment isn't neat. He tells me that he 'has the most beautiful girlfriend' when I'm in mismatched pj's and haven't showered and have no make-up on. He makes me laugh all the time. This year he did my taxes for me. He takes me to fun shows, like Chicago and Sheer Madness and RENT because he knows I love them. He is more thoughtful than anyone else I've ever been with, and makes me feel beautiful and loved all the time.

So, are things difficult sometimes? Of course. Sometimes I get really frustrated, and sometimes it makes me sad that we can't do things like go for a hike. But the truth of the matter is, when it comes to someone I want to be with for forever, Stephe is fantastic and we get along wonderfully. We don't argue, we don't yell... we just love one another in all that we are. I accept him and he accepts me, good and bad. And that's how it should be.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Artist's Scarf FREE Giveaway- part 1.5

I told my boyfriend I made $45 dollars today. He asked how. I said... "Working the corner." Apparently 'winks' don't translate well over the phone, so he did not find this funny. But I chuckled. Aaaannnnnnnyhow.....

So, this just goes along with the other blog entry from yesterday....I wore the black "Artist's Scarf" to work... partly to stay warm and partly to use to get feedback. I got a wonderful comment on it within a few minutes! "Thanks!" I say... An hour later we have the same planning period, but because I've been under the weather and it's hard to focus on grading when you don't feel great, I brought my latest "Artist's Scarf" I was working on. The same lady offered to buy it! I said sure! This is the scarf I made for her.
HOW EXCITING?! But it gets better!
Then another lady came in and SHE wanted one in a different color! Holy Moly! Two sales in an hour!

Then there is a third lady who wants one. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which leaves me really encouraged. These are so fun, and cozy like a full scarf, but way less bulky or in the way of whatever it is you're doing. I call them an "Artist's Scarf" but perhaps for you it's a "Mommy Scarf", or a "Chef Scarf" or a "Fashion Scarf". The fun thing is, you can dress them up or down.

The Giveaway is still on... and I'm also currently doing personal orders. $15 a pop for now and you get your choice of color, and whether you want buttons or ribbons. Once they go on Etsy it'll be harder for me to customize and I'm going to ask $20 so nows the time kids. Shoot me an email and I'll be happy to work with you.

The Crocet Queen of the Night

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Artist's Scarf- FREE GIVEAWAY

If I can get 15 people to leave me legit feedback on here about this Artist's Scarf idea, I'll draw one at random to receive a free one.

If you're anything like me you love the warmth a scarf provides. Unfortunately, scarfs- as trendy as they can be- can get in the way (or in my case, make a nice mess as they drag through your paints). Ever had your scarf accidently drag through your food? How about lean over to flush the toilet and in goes your scarf, nice and wet. Yuck! So here's my SNUGGIE-esque version of the scarf. I call it the "Artist's Scarf".

So here's the thing, I've made two so far.... and I'd love to make more to sell but they take some time to make. So this is where I'd like feedback from you guys.

First off- Would you even want to wear one of these?
Secondly- What would you consider a reasonable price? (I saw similar ones online for about $40... I was thinking closer to $15-$25 depending on yarn types)
Third- What colors would you prefer?
Fourth- Buttons or ribbons?

Thanks for any feedback!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Peer Pressure

Last night I got really cool news from a long time bestie. My friend Heather told me that she's been switching to Seventh Generation and other 'green' products! Woo hoo! I'm psyched! She was wondering where to find the compostable sponges, and since I didn't mention it before, I'll tell you now. TARGET. Yep- go figure. =)

In other news, I've been asked to do some art for a charity. Phoenix Bikes is having a bike show, and people who share their Extraordinary Ride stories will get a work of art from an artist. I'll be doing a work of art based on someone's story. I haven't got the story yet, but if you're interested you can check it out at which is where I borrowed this image from.

Spinach as Big as Your Head!

I'll be the first to admit.... I have a big head. So my question is: What the heck is Dole fertilizing their crops with?! I pulled this out of the bag and couldn't help but take a pic. UNBELIEVABLE!